Audax Group logoBARBERTON, OHIO – Boston-based Audax Private Equity has partnered with company management to acquire Preferred Compounding from Dallas private equity firm Wingate Partners, Preferred announced today. The Cleveland office of KeyBanc Capital Markets served as financial advisor to Preferred. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Preferred has grown into the second largest custom rubber compounder in North America since being acquired in December 2010 by Wingate and company managers. In addition to significantly outpacing the industry in the U.S., Preferred has acquired and twice expanded a mixing operation in Central Mexico.

“Wingate has been a tremendous partner for Preferred Compounding,” said Ken Bloom, CEO and president of Preferred. “They assisted us in developing and implementing our business strategies over the past five years and we are now positioned to take the next step in our growth.”

“Audax has tremendous experience and expertise in middle-market industrial companies and fully supports our vision,” he said. “We will continue to invest in quality, capabilities and partnering with our customers through flexible programs and services that add value.”

Preferred now employs more than 400 people at its four mixing operations in Georgia, Tennessee, Mexico and Barberton, Ohio, which is company headquarters. Since 2010, the company has more than doubled compound development and quality staff and earned ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation for its research and development lab in Barberton. With significant growth in 2015 continuing into 2016, Bloom said the company is actively hiring at all locations.

Audax Private Equity is an integral part of Audax Group, which manages more than $9 billion in assets across its private equity, mezzanine and senior debt businesses. Audax Private Equity also owns Northeast Ohio companies TPC and Gabriel Performance Products, both in Macedonia, and previously owned ColorMatrix in Berea and Chart Industries in Cleveland.

“We help transform market leaders into substantially larger and better-positioned enterprises by building close partnerships with strong management teams,” said Geoffrey S. Rehnert, co-CEO of Audax Private Equity. “We look forward to working with and supporting the Preferred team to continue to enhance the company’s comprehensive capabilities and services.”

Quality management systems at all Preferred locations are ISO 9001 certified and follow the MixLoc™ Quality program, which identifies and implements procedures at nine key compounding process steps, resulting in consistent high-quality compounds. The program includes 24/7 customer access to compound data.

Preferred also follows The Compounder’s Pledge, which calls for using only prime materials in compounds with no substitutions without the knowledge and consent of the customer.

About Preferred Compounding

Preferred Compounding ( supplies proprietary and custom mixed rubber compounds to customers including molders, extruders, mixers and others in the rubber goods market. Primary industries served are automotive, construction, power generation and roll goods.


Jerry Pignolet, Power Marketing/PR: 440-527-0446,
Joe Hudson, vice president, sales and business development, Preferred Compounding: 330-798-4960.